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Harvey Milk Day: An Evening of Disco and Cocktails

Celebrate Harvey Milk Day with The Center at Insert Coin(s) in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, May 22 from 7 to 10 p.m. Hosted by (BELVEDERE)RED Vodka. Enjoy DJ sets from Michael Shulman, Adam 12 and DJ 88. The attire is Disco Chic. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Center. Please RSVP to events@insertcoinslv.com.

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Share Your Tomorrow

This past Monday, May 4, a coalition of LGBTQ organizations across the country, including The Center, launched the Our Tomorrow Campaign. This initiative featured in the national press such as The Huffington Post and other media is attempting to drive the LGBTQ community to its website at www.shareourtomorrow.org in which LGBTQ voices will be surveyed and heard. What should be our tomorrow? Where does our community go in what will, hopefully, be a post marriage equality world. What are our hopes and dreams for the future? The Center will be participating in this initiative by programming our Cyber Center computers to point in the direction of this survey.

Closer to home, however, we are endeavoring to do the same thing. This is a strategic planning year for The Center. While we are coming to the conclusion of a three-year plan that began in 2012, our board and staff leadership is planning for the next three years. Where do we go strategically? What are our hopes and dreams?

We don’t take this lightly. It was the strategic plan of 2012 that put The Center on course to find itself and build itself a new home. We would not have the remarkable building, facilities, and programs that we have today at The Center if it was not for the vision of some extraordinary leaders who moved us in this direction.

That is the necessity of a strategic plan. Ideally, we are meant to have a consensus vision as to where we want to go in the next three years. That vision needs to be informed by YOU. We need your voices. We need your views and your opinions. We aim to bring together the voices of our LGBTQ community to decipher where to go as our movement changes so dramatically.

Beginning next week, The Center is launching three separate “walk-in” survey weeks. Anyone who comes into The Center will be surveyed. The results of those surveys will be tallied and used by the Governing Board, the Associate Board and the staff later this year to inform its forward-direction. The first survey is meant to profile those who come to The Center. The second survey is meant to get your views and opinions of our programming. The third survey is meant to survey how best to communicate with you and in what way you would consider supporting the mission of The Center.

In addition to our “walk-in” surveys, we will soon be deploying an online survey in which we are asking any / all to participate. We will be doing one-on-one interviews of key stakeholders in our community. We are planning on a “benchmarking” survey that will be a comparative analysis of The Center and its activities with other like-organizations around the country. We also hope to conduct in July a “World Café”—a listening session in which we hope to get a variety of opinions from our L-G-B-T-Q constituents. It’s our desire to hear from every constituent base of our community.

Will you help us shape our tomorrow? Will you share with us your thoughts, insights, opinions, and guidance as we undertake the weighty task of forging our next three-year strategic plan? Your opinions DO matter! I would encourage you to look for other opportunities as we make these survey instruments available. Share your thoughts and ideas. Our ambition is to serve this community to the best of our ability and resources. It takes a shared vision to do so. And, we won’t have that unless your voice is heard. We want YOUR tomorrow to be OUR tomorrow.

Please feel free to share your ideas with me at mdimengo@thecenterlv.org and look for these other opportunities coming to your INBOX soon!  


Michael Dimengo
Chief Executive Officer
mdimengo@thecenterlv.org

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Social CirKish teaches youth circus skills, self-esteem and so much more

Starting in the summer of 2014, The Center began offering free circus skills classes to youth 10-19 years of age. Juggling, clowning, high wire, acrobatics, plus performing in a show in front of an audience all for free. The only requirement is that the student commit to showing up twice a week to classes for the entire nine weeks of the course. The program is called Social CirKish and is funded through generous contributions from the John C. Kish Foundation.

Beyond the circus skills, which also impart confidence, self-esteem and discipline, the classes improve etiquette, manners and positive interactions between youth of disparate backgrounds and their instructors. That’s the social part of Social CirKish. Inner city youth, LGBTQ youth, and youth of a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds all come together to train in circus arts and acquire more social skills.

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ARTrageous Vegas 2015 is coming to Havana Room inside The New Tropicana Las Vegas

On May 16, 7-10pm, local artists and entertainers are invited to showcase their talents at our annual ARTrageous Vegas event, to be held at Havana Room inside The New Tropicana Las Vegas. Painters, sculptors, illustrators and other fine artists may submit two original works to display at this Saturday evening celebration of the arts, while entertainers — vocalists, dancers and more — take to the stage to wow the crowd. Some of the most talented fashion designers from Las Vegas will also showcase their latest designs on the runway. PLUS, we’re welcoming floral art and chocolate/sugar art into the event.

Partygoers at ARTrageous Vegas will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres while enjoying delicious libations from Tropicana’s cocktail artists — open bar during the 6-7pm VIP pre-event; cash bar during the 7-10pm main event.

A panel of knowledgable jurors from the local arts scene will judge the submitted works and choose three winners, to be announced at the event. Many pieces of art on display at ARTrageous Vegas are available for purchase. Each artist generously agrees to donate 50% of the purchase price to The Center.

This event is for ages 21 and above
Admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
A VIP pre-event featuring an open bar and meet-and-greet with the artists is $100 per person.

Tickets are on sale now! Click here to purchase online.

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STD vs. STI — What the heck is an STI? What’s the difference? Is there one?

It is no secret that the medical community loves its abbreviations. Abbreviations like SVT just roll off the tongue more naturally than scary-looking words like Supraventricular Tachycardia.

The sexual health and prevention community is no exception. Over the years, we have seen the language evolve to describe those little unwanted gifts we get in the bedroom (often from unwrapped packages!). We have gone from VD (Venereal Disease) to STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).

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How fit are you... emotionally?

We’re pretty fortunate in Las Vegas. We enjoy weather that is warm and invigorating almost all year round. Take it from this Midwesterner. I am reminded that in many areas of the country, with the passage of Spring, people are looking forward to a healthy and active summer. “Spring has finally sprung in Chicago,” some good friends texted me just the other night from Chicago. Winter and the long season of inclement weather is over. People are looking forward to the invigoration of going outside. We’re motivated to get active, to lose weight in order to get into our bathing suits. There’s a general sense of getting fit and making ourselves fit. It is an annual and cyclic ritual of sorts.

I’m constantly reminded of our ability to be emotionally fit and well balanced. We’re made aware of those challenges in our work at The Center where we have the privilege to serve a wide variety of individuals in our LGBTQ community. As LGBTQ we face extraordinary odds as we live life out and proud. But living in a way that is true to ourselves can sometimes be extraordinarily challenging. We have to stay healthy amid the stresses. And, like those who are gym buddies who rely on the support of one another to pursue fitness and well-being, we need to rely on one another to challenge us to be emotionally fit and strong.

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New Trans* Programs at The Center Strive to Strengthen Relationships

When Holly Reese joined The Center’s staff as senior and transgender programs manager in 2014, she had a goal of adding numerous new trans* and gender non-conforming programs and services. Almost immediately, she introduced the hugely successful SWITCH Trans* Clothing Swap and the FLUX support group for youth, facilitated by clinical psychologist Susan Vincent, PhD. These joined the existing Trans.lation, Out of the (Gender) Box and Transmasculine Group meetings to form what is known collectively as the Identi-T* program.

The next new group to be added to the lineup is called T*gether and will launch at The Center on June 3.

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Bet on your sexual health and win!

“Play it smart and practice safer sex. Ante up by using a condom. Double down by knowing yourself and your partner’s HIV status. Bet on THIS Nevada! Because when you bet on your sexual health, you always win!”  That’s the important message being relayed by a recently launched website, mobile app and playing card set.

BetOnThisNV.org offers a wealth of information on the most common sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS testing locations and places to get free condoms throughout Nevada, and tips on condom use, safer oral sex and safer needle use. For those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the website also provides a detailed guide of resources throughout Nevada and helps explain the Ryan White CARE Act programs. A “Living Well with HIV” care binder kit can be downloaded and printed to help positive persons list their doctors, support groups and other resources, keep a log of doctors’ orders and maintain a journal of daily feelings, activities and vital statistics. Numerous safer sex images and memes are also available to download and use on social media.